Horrendous DC Golden Age Reprint/Restoration

Discussion in 'Visual Arts' started by BRODNATION, Aug 24, 2019.

  1. BRODNATION

    BRODNATION The Future Never Dies because Tomorrow Never Knows Thread Starter

    Location:
    Canada
    [​IMG]

    I was looking at a production proof of detective comics 27 (the first appearance of Batman) and i wanted to clean it up and restore it and color it based on an actual print comic rather than the digital recolor done by DC.

    Then when I was comparing colors I noticed something.

    I was genuinely horrified with what I saw. I believe that when Reprinting/Restoring they used automatic dirt and dust and stain clean up as a vast amount of fine detail was lost. I put together this comparison to show how awful it actually is. The first is the production proof, the second is my restored production proof and the third is DC's restoration.
     
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  2. JPagan

    JPagan Forum Resident

    Location:
    South Florida
    The bottom one appears to be a hand reproduction/tracing of the above. Notice the lettering work is completely different.
     
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  3. Vidiot

    Vidiot Now in 4K HDR!

    Location:
    Hollywood, USA
    Bad decisions get made. There always has to be a guy in charge who really cares about the results (even more than sheer profits), and if they try to go through a fast/cheap route, this is what's going to happen. I would bet this work got shipped overseas, and the people there opted to redraw/trace the page rather than clean up what's actually there.

    If you've ever seen the colorized versions of the classic 1930s/1940s B&W Warner Bros. cartoons, you know how bad this stuff can be. The first rule of the restoration business has to be "first, do no harm" (exactly like the hippocratic oath for physicians).
     
  4. BRODNATION

    BRODNATION The Future Never Dies because Tomorrow Never Knows Thread Starter

    Location:
    Canada
    And that doesn’t even touch on the baffling re colouring.

    If you want it to look original why not use the original colours from a good scan or colour production art and re colour it without the Ben day Dots and hashes or alignment problems of the original print runs?

    If you want it to look modern why not throw out the old colours and completely re colour it with a modern palette and look?

    Instead they used the same pallet as the big print reissues from the 70s giving the worst possibilities of both outcomes. It’s not the recreation original colour nor a digital upgrade. It’s a digital translation of the 70s guess and check palette with a few gradient fills and faux “air brushing” thrown in at complete random.

    If your gonna trace and recolour why not do a good job and then sell them as upgraded editions not use archive branding
     
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  5. agentalbert

    agentalbert Forum Resident

    Location:
    San Antonio, TX
    What is the last one from? Is that from one the DC Archive Editions or the newer Golden Age Omnibus volumes?
     
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  6. lechiffre

    lechiffre Forum Resident

    Location:
    phoenix
    Did Disney buy DC too, or did they just do the "restoration".
     
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  7. BRODNATION

    BRODNATION The Future Never Dies because Tomorrow Never Knows Thread Starter

    Location:
    Canada
    Archive Editions but is there really a difference?
     
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  8. agentalbert

    agentalbert Forum Resident

    Location:
    San Antonio, TX
    I don't know. Likely not, I suppose.

    That does look bad. On the guy sweating, you can barely tell the difference between what is suppsoed to be his eye and what is supposed to just be texture on the face.
     
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  9. ThePaleRider

    ThePaleRider Well-Known Member

    Wow, it really is awful. I remember thinking after buying and unwrapping my first archive edition, 'Was the artwork really that bad?' I didn't buy any more. It's maddening that DC would be so sloppy and careless with these releases. They don't respect the work.
     
  10. Jack White

    Jack White Forum Resident

    Location:
    Canada
    Yes. I have the 'Golden Era Omnibus' and this particular panel in that edition is different (in a good way) compared to the panel posted in this thread.

    P.S. I don't have and have never seen the 'Archives' edition and don't know the source or the process involved in the 'Golden Age Omnibus' edition.
     
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  11. BRODNATION

    BRODNATION The Future Never Dies because Tomorrow Never Knows Thread Starter

    Location:
    Canada
    if you could post a scan I would love to see it, I am working on another project on this subject and would love another thing to compare
     
  12. Jack White

    Jack White Forum Resident

    Location:
    Canada
    Sorry, can't scan. But to give you an idea - there is a complete eye of the villain (Stryker) showing the 'white' of his eye rather than just a squint; and the prisoner (Rogers) has some white in his hair.

    'The Golden Age Omnibus' edition, I believe, retains the original size and proportions of the comic book. So that particular panel is only about 3 1/4" x 2 1/4". I've never seen an original D27, but I can't imagine the colouring and detail was great printed on that pulp-paper.

    BTW, from where are you accessing the "production proof" of D27? Has that been published in a book or is it available on-line?

    Does DC still have the original art work in their archives?
     
  13. BRODNATION

    BRODNATION The Future Never Dies because Tomorrow Never Knows Thread Starter

    Location:
    Canada
    I have seen the first page of the famous CGC 8.0 DC27 as well as some much lesser issues.

    And to be completely honest the line work presents very nicely. I have also made a “colour correct version by using the blank spaces of the speech balloons and it presents even better. I will admit that the colour registration on the book isn’t great and has fairly significant colour shift into and over the lines.

    The production proof I included has been published online here is the link.
    Detective Comics #27 Page 6 Proof (1939).... Memorabilia | Lot #91416 | Heritage Auctions
    It includes pages 2-6 of Batman’s first story.

    I have no idea what DC has in their archives and have done no research about it
     
  14. BRODNATION

    BRODNATION The Future Never Dies because Tomorrow Never Knows Thread Starter

    Location:
    Canada
    I would be willing to post my digital restoration of the first page of a Original DC 27
     
  15. agentalbert

    agentalbert Forum Resident

    Location:
    San Antonio, TX
    That's good to know, though I don't see myself buying them again. I have a number of the DC Archie Editions. The omnibus's are too big and unwieldy for my tastes, but its good to know they look better. Sorta. Just makes me angry they didn't do it right the first time.
     
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  16. mBen989

    mBen989 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Scranton, PA
    The ones that were rotoscoped or the ones that were digitally colored?
     
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  17. Vidiot

    Vidiot Now in 4K HDR!

    Location:
    Hollywood, USA
    I have not seen any that were digitally colorized -- only the really bad film ones from the 1970s/1980s, done in the Far East.
     
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  18. agentalbert

    agentalbert Forum Resident

    Location:
    San Antonio, TX
    If anyone can post a scan of this panel from the newer Golden Omnibus edition for comparison, I'd really like to see it.
     
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  19. BRODNATION

    BRODNATION The Future Never Dies because Tomorrow Never Knows Thread Starter

    Location:
    Canada
    I am thinking as a commemoration of Batman turning 80 that I will restore his first page of appearance and digitally recolour it based on my own 8.0 graded digitally colour corrected original 1939 book.

    A sort of what if about what it could have looked like it DC would have cared about the restoration and a hopefully good restoration/ presentation of that iconic page
     
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  20. agentalbert

    agentalbert Forum Resident

    Location:
    San Antonio, TX
    If you can, please post what it looks like when you're done. I'll be curious to see it.
     
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  21. mBen989

    mBen989 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Scranton, PA
    Here's a comparison I found on YouTube.
     
  22. BRODNATION

    BRODNATION The Future Never Dies because Tomorrow Never Knows Thread Starter

    Location:
    Canada
    (After more hours than I would like to admit)
    I have cleaned and restored the linework of the first page of appearance of "The Batman".
    I tried to dust bust it as much as possible. but unfortunately, the DC version has been dust busted so much that a lot of smaller detail was wiped.
    So I was basically doing an educated guess into what was dust or dirt and what as fine detail
    here is the final linework result
    i will post the final version later
    Batman Linework Restoration.png
    [​IMG]
     
  23. Dinstun

    Dinstun Forum Resident

    Location:
    US
    There appears to be aliasing, in this as well as the middle image of the first post. Is it being reduced to a two color image, white and black?
     
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  24. BRODNATION

    BRODNATION The Future Never Dies because Tomorrow Never Knows Thread Starter

    Location:
    Canada
    yes. because it is a compressed image and had heavy unsharp masking applied to it, I felt that it was best to restore and clean it to a 2 shade image: black or white. It is linework so it is an early valid approach.

    I was thinking of putting it through an Anti Aliasing Filter but to be honest i wanted to keep as much detail as possible
     
  25. czeskleba

    czeskleba Senior Member

    Location:
    Seattle
    Most of the DC "restored" reprints I've seen are trace jobs, because there are no stats or proofs available and they need B&W copies to recolor (recoloring is necessary for print, since if you reprint scanned pages with the original color detail is lost and it turns into a muddy mess). But restorations all look horrible compared to the originals. There's only so much you can do if you need to knock out the original color. Any process you use to remove color from the original artwork is going to damage/remove linework, whether it's old-fashioned Theakstonizing or doing it digitally. The other option is just to have someone trace it, which is what they seem to do most of the time. Tracing is probably the worst, since the feel of the art is lost in the tracing. But anyway, it's not really fair to compare what they've done to your restoration on the production proofs, because those were B&W to start with. If you tried to digitally remove all the color from a scan of an original comic, your results would look worse (though probably better than their trace job).

    In this day and age, the best way to read old comics is digitally, via scans of the original issues. Scans of original art with the original color don't look great when printed in a book, but on a computer screen they look just fine.

    The production proofs for that story did not surface until after the Archive Edition was published. I wonder if they've used the production proofs for any of the more recent reprints? They should be able to make that first story look great if they did, although page one of the story isn't available in production proof.
     
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